Half Baked (It’s a…)

Dear Baby Pacheco,

This week you’ve reached a huge milestone– 20 weeks is the halfway point! I can’t believe we are already over halfway through this pregnancy. It didn’t feel this way during the first trimester, but now the time is truly flying by. Not that I’m complaining really… pregnancy has been an interesting experience & these past few months have been some of the best of my life, but the endgame is having you in our arms come January. Dad & I were talking quite a bit this week about how we can’t wait to meet you “IRL” (in real life). 😉 Especially after seeing your sweet face on the 3D ultrasound last week and starting to feel you move around more often, I think we both are starting to feel a stronger connection to you as a little person, as our child who will be here in just a few short months. Earlier this week Dad & I were laying in bed together in the middle of the night. We both happened to be awake even though it was around 3am, and Dad reached over to hold me in his arms (despite the Snoogle, haha)… as we were laying there quietly together, I felt you move & thought about how it was really the three of us there, our little family all curled up together. It brought on such a strong wave of joy, love, & gratitude that, as cheesy as it sounds, I was brought to tears. You are such a blessing to us already! 🙂

Today we went to the OB-GYN for your “anatomy scan,” an ultrasound where they take lots of measurements to make sure all of your organs & such are developing properly. All went well & it was wonderful to see you again (although I must admit I’m spoiled after getting the 3D ultrasound, haha), and the ultrasound tech for this scan confirmed what we’d heard last week…

You are a boy! 😀 😀 😀 Dad & I were both very excited to hear this! Of course we would have been happy either way; the important thing is that you’re healthy & growing well in there… but I think Dad is especially tickled to have a son, and has been fantasizing about all the cool father-son things he wants to do with you someday. We are going to name you Alexander Todd (Todd is after Papa of course), and will call you Alex for short. It is so nice to finally have a concrete name to call you, instead of just “baby” or whatever fruit you are that week (for the record, this week you are the size of a banana!). Haha. I think this is another thing that has really strengthened our connection with you over the last week or so.

So now that we know you’re a boy, we can start preparing more for your arrival! We bought your nursery set & plan to paint the nursery a light blue next weekend when Nana & Grump come to visit (Nana loves painting so she’s going to help us with that). Dad & I also made a special piece of “art” to put above your crib:

We’re hoping to finish decorating the nursery over the next couple of months, before I get so big that I don’t feel like doing much. We also finished up our registry this week. I think the baby shower is going to be in early November, which will be here before we know it! The other big thing we did this week is start searching in earnest for a good childcare provider, since we’ll have to have someone watch you after I go back to work next May/June. Right now we are leaning towards a daycare center very close to our house– we took a tour there on Friday & were pretty impressed with them. They book up quickly though, so we’ll need to make a final choice within the next couple of weeks.

And that’s about it around here, although really it’s quite alot… we’ve had a very exciting couple of weeks! One more thing I want to share before I go though, as promised last week:

* Photos from the 3D ultrasound: http://www.photobucket.com/BabyAlex19weeks
* Video from the 3D ultrasound session:

You can see on the video the moment where the tech points out that you are a boy. She said to us “imagine that you’re changing a diaper” to give us an idea of the point-of-view we were seeing, and as soon as she said that it was pretty obvious to me that there was something sticking out between your legs! 😉 The lights were off in the room to help us see the screen more clearly, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see Dad’s reaction when he first found out… but he was squeezing my foot the whole rest of the session, so I could tell how excited he was! Here is a photo from our anatomy scan today as well:

These pictures will probably be the last we get of you until after you’re born, unless something comes up that requires them to check on how you’re doing in there, so we will certainly treasure them during this last half of the pregnancy as we impatiently wait for your arrival. 😉 You are so handsome and perfect, and we love you so much! We really couldn’t be any happier or more proud of you. Keep growing, little Alex!

All my love,
Mom

What the heck is a Snoogle?!

Dear Baby Pacheco,

I think at this point I can’t really say anymore that I don’t “feel pregnant.” You are 19 weeks along (the size of a MANGO– wow!), and although I don’t feel nausea or things like that anymore the changes to my shape are taking their toll:

Hopefully at this point when people see me they realize I’m pregnant, haha. Exercise is getting harder because I don’t have the freedom of movement I used to & tire more easily, but I still try to shoot for 30 minutes of some sort of activity every day. The real struggle for me, however, has been sleep. I’ve never been the sort of person that sleeps soundly throughout the night anyway, but this not being allowed to sleep on my back stuff has been killing me! This week I finally broke down and invested in one of those “pregnancy pillows” that sort of forces you to sleep on your side. It’s called the Snoogle:

It definitely helps keep me on my side and is pretty cozy, but of course it takes some getting used to. Poor Dad doesn’t get as much room on his side of the bed anymore, but he’s been very sweet about giving me all the space I need. This is probably TMI (especially to read about your parents so my apologies in advance), but one pitfall with the Snoogle is that it really inhibits cuddling & such with the person in bed next to you. Again, poor Dad! :-X LOL.

I also feel what I’m much more confident is you moving around in there on a regular basis. Some movements are more obvious than others (i.e. clear “pokes”), but most of the time it feels like a soft fluttering in my lower abdomen. It comes & goes every few hours, I’d say I feel it at least 3 times a day & sometimes in the middle of the night. Dad keeps putting his hand on my belly in the hopes that he’ll feel something… I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he finally does! 🙂 My guess is it won’t happen for another few weeks or so.

So this week we ended up with a 3-day holiday weekend & nothing to do, so on a whim we decided to go to one of those 3D ultrasound places and get a little peek at how you’re doing & what you look like these days. Not only had we not seen you in 7 weeks, but the 3D images let us see so much more detail! We even got to take home over 50 images and a DVD of the whole session. This was my favorite 3D image:

You have such a sweet, adorable little face! One of the BEST things (and the reason I’m not sharing more of the pics/video) about the session was that we were able to find out your gender, clear as day! 😀 😀 We’re waiting until our anatomy scan with the OB-GYN to confirm before we post it online, but the technician was absolutely certain and after comparing our pictures with other examples online, there is not a doubt in my & Dad’s minds either. So exciting! That will be the biggest topic of next week’s post, I think.

And that’s a good place to leave off. They say when it comes to things like this, always leave them wanting more… I think I accomplished that this week! 😉 Until next time, little mango!

All my love,
Mom

A little tumble

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are over 18 weeks along now, and about the size of a sweet potato. 🙂 Time is flying by! Over the weekend I tripped on a street curb while Dad & I were out walking Cody… luckily I just landed on my hands & knees, but of course any sort of fall is scary when you are pregnant. Between that & still not really being able to feel you moving around much yet, I’d psyched myself out enough to move my next check-up appointment to this morning (it was supposed to be Friday so just a few days earlier). Dad actually got to come with me since he’d strained his shoulder over the weekend & was taking the day off of work to rest it. Now that I think about it, I guess it was a weekend full of injuries! :-\

The appointment went really well. I weighed in & found that I’ve gained 2 lbs. since my last monthly appointment (3 lbs. overall since the start of my pregnancy), which the doctor said was right on track. The results of of my gestational diabetes test were perfect, and they told me that I will test for that again around 28 weeks. They did the usual urine sample & also a blood test to check for spinal bifida (? not sure if I’m spelling that right). Then Dad & I both got to hear your heartbeat for a few minutes. 🙂 It was nice & healthy at about 160 beats per minute! We could also hear you moving around a bit too. So overall everything looks great, which is quite a relief after being worried this weekend.

While we were there we also scheduled the anatomy scan, where we find out if you’re a boy or girl, for September 10th– exactly TWO WEEKS from today! We can’t wait! I wanted to schedule it earlier but the doctor won’t let anyone do it sooner than the 20 week point. Hopefully these next couple of weeks go by fast. When we got home we took my weekly belly picture:

Not really noticing much of a difference from last week, but I guess a sweet potato isn’t really that much bigger than an onion. Everything else feels about the same as well as far as symptoms go, or for me it’s really a lack thereof since I feel like my normal self most of the time… Just a bit tired by the end of the day. If only my office allowed mid-afternoon siestas! 😉

After taking a couple months’ mental break from educational pregnancy stuff to enjoy some fiction books, I recently started delving into the world of birthing, breastfeeding, & infant care literature. It’s led me to thinking a lot about what the birth experience is going to be like, or at least what I hope it will be like. This may be a lofty goal but I’m hoping that your birth will occur as naturally as possible, with as little medical “assistance” (epidural, etc.) as possible. Luckily the hospital I plan to give birth at is very supportive of this, and Dad is too. Hopefully with their help things will go smoothly when the time comes. I suppose I have plenty of time to think about this, but I am just too much of a planner not to think about it & prepare myself as much as possible. Not sure if you’ve picked up on this yet Baby Pacheco, but your mother is quite the worry wart! Hahaha

That’s pretty much it for now. Until next time, little sweet potato!

All my love,
Mom

Dream on

Dear Baby Pacheco,

I am a little behind this week, so now you are closer to 17 & 1/2 weeks (size of a large onion)…. we had such a busy weekend that I didn’t get to take my weekly belly picture until today:

And what a picture! As soon as I uploaded it and saw how far out my belly was I said “WHOA! When did that happen?!?!” To which Dad goes “How many times do I have to tell you that you’re pregnant? It’s been going on for awhile now!” Haha. In hindsight, I did notice that my last few pairs of regular pants are now unwearable without some sort of assistance via a belly band this week. However, my belly is still not that typical hard round thing you think of when you picture a pregnant woman. It’s just a large, slightly better shaped ball of squish… except towards the bottom, where you mostly reside… there it feels a bit firmer.

But other than that, I feel pretty good! Pretty much the same as the last few weeks. Last week I took the glucose test to check for gestational diabetes, but never heard anything back. However, generally the doctor doesn’t call unless the results are bad… so I’m going to assume no news is good news in that department. My monthly check-up is next week, so I’m sure I’ll get the “official” results at that point.

One symptom you hear a lot about for pregnant women is crazy, vivid dreams. Honestly I hadn’t thought much of this since I’ve always had crazy vivid dreams, but I find that I’m remembering them more often. Just this past weekend I had the weirdest dream where we had just brought you home and I was changing your diaper with Grandma & Papa watching me like a hawk. I opened the diaper and there was shredded cheese inside. LOL. But it was clear to me that it wasn’t something that had come from you, it was like someone had put shredded cheese on you instead of baby powder or whatever when the diaper went on initially. So of course I was like “what the heck is this?” and Grandma goes “oh, she hasn’t gone yet” (you were a girl in this dream)… the next thing I know, you decide it’s time to go while the diaper is still off & there’s pee and poop spewing everywhere! I got all kind of flustered & embarrassed that I was looking like such an idiot in front of my parents. Then I managed to get the diaper changed and tried to breastfeed you, but that wasn’t going well either. Overall I think it was a dream expressing my anxieties surrounding my ability (or lack thereof) to care for a newborn. Totally normal feelings I think, but man that dream was crazy!

Anyway, Grandma & Papa actually did come to visit this past weekend (perhaps that’s what prompted the dream?). Dad & Papa spent Saturday installing ceiling fans in both the spare bedrooms (one of which is now your nursery). It was a dirty job since there weren’t ceiling fan hookups in there before, which meant Dad had to spent a lot of time in our dusty & gross attic. Poor Dad! But the results were worth it:

So much easier to just be able to flip on a light when you walk in the room! And as you can see, pretty much all your furniture has been set up. All that’s left is to do the actual decorating, but I’m waiting on that until we find out whether you’re a boy or a girl. 🙂 Actually that is just a couple weeks away now! The count down is on, haha. Well I suppose that is enough for now. Until next time little onion!

All my love,
Mom

Do you hear what I hear?

Dear Baby Pacheco,

Today makes 16 weeks along for us… FOUR MONTHS of pregnancy have flown by already! My sources say you are the size of an avocado now…. you’re getting so big so fast. My belly agrees:

Last night as we were getting ready for bed Dad said for the first time: “Wow, your stomach is really starting to stick out!” Hahaha. I gave him a “look” and he quickly added “But I think it’s wonderful!” Good save, Dad. 😉 I’m still fitting into some of my own clothes, but am wearing quite a bit of maternity stuff, too. I think it’s not really that the size of my stomach has significantly changed per se, but the ratio of baby to fat has shifted quite a bit so (1) it is shaped differently and (2) I can no longer “suck it in”… And people are definitely starting to notice & stare a little bit. I have to keep repeating to myself “it’s okay, you’re pregnant!”

Anyway, Dad & I are so excited because you’ve reached a big milestone this week: at the 16 week mark all the bones in your little ears have formed, so you can hear us now!! So cool. We have been talking to you all day, and when we were riding around in the car running errands this afternoon Dad was having fun telling you about different kinds of music as it came on the radio (“So Baby this is called ‘Classic Rock,’ but who knows what they’ll call it by the time you’re grown up.” Haha). Also the last night or two I’ve felt what I think (hope!) may be the beginning of kicks/punches from you… I generally only notice it late at night when I’m very still & things are very quiet, and even then it’s very much a “blink & you’ll miss it” sort of thing. They kind of feel like tiny muscle spasms, or indigestion, I can’t decide which. It may just be wishful thinking/feeling on my part, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. 🙂

The only other thing that went on this week was that we got an awesome surprise in the mail from Nana & Grump– a dresser for your nursery! We just got it on Friday & Dad had to work today, so we’re planning to get it set up tomorrow. Since we ended up getting the dresser for free I decided to go ahead & order a changing table as well. I wasn’t planning to get one initially since it’s not something that is really needed based on my conversations with other moms, but it will be nice to have that extra storage space & designated changing spot upstairs. Still waiting to do any further decorating beyond the big pieces of furniture until we know your gender (just a few more weeks!!).

Beyond all that (haha), it’s pretty much same old same old around here. I am feeling great except for the growing pains, which are starting to increase in frequency & intensity… but nothing I can’t handle. On Monday I have an appointment to get tested for gestational diabetes. I’m a little nervous about this, since between my weight & family history I am at a much higher risk for it, but trying have a “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” attitude. Hopefully by the time I write you next week we’ll know one way or the other. Until then, baby avocado! 😉

All my love,
Mom

Woosh Woosh POW! (Kung Fu Baby)

Dear Baby Pacheco,

15 weeks along today… I can’t believe that in just a little over a month we’ll be finding out if you’re a boy or a girl! Dad & I can’t wait. 😀 So much of the planning/preparing happens after that point that we are really looking forward to: decorating your nursery, putting together a registry, finalizing a name choice (we have changed our minds on top name choices since I last wrote about them, which I thought would happen), etc. etc. BUT that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to be doing now! Dad & I spent this past weekend working on another important part of your nursery– the closet. Actually, it had been Dad’s closet up until now because I had so much stuff that I took up the whole closet in our bedroom (whoops!). So we both went through all our things and did some re-organizing, and now we can finally share a closet for the first time in the history of our relationship. For the moment we are leaving the closet in your nursery the way it is, until we have more of your things and now what kind of storage/organization system we’re going to need… but at least the closet is 100% yours now!

We’ve also been doing some research and making a few purchases related to diapers. Specifically, Dad & I have decided to go the cloth diaper route with you as much as possible, which is not only better for you & the environment but will save us a ton of money as well in the long-run. We’re springing for the kind that are meant to work almost exactly like disposable diapers, which are more expensive but we think it will be worth it. The choice to use cloth diapers is apparently a controversial decision based on some people’s reactions when I’ve told them about it, but Dad & I really do think this is the best choice for our family and are committed to making it work. I ordered our first dozen online today & am really excited about it!

The other big thing that went on since I last wrote you is, of course, my monthly checkup with the OB-GYN. Everything went really well! My blood pressure was normal and overall I’ve only gained 1 pound so far. My doctor said she is really happy with how well I’ve been keeping my weight in check. She also went over the nuchal translucency test results (blood & ultrasound) in more detail, and all of that looked really good as well. Next she took out the doppler & we listened to your heartbeat for a few minutes. It was around 150 beats per minute which the doctor said was perfect, and we could also hear you moving around in there. We could hear the “woosh woosh woosh” of the heartbeat followed by a big “POW!” every couple of seconds when you would kick or punch. You were very active, my little kung fu baby! 😀 It was so neat; I wish Dad could’ve been there to hear it (he had to work). The doctor said that I probably won’t start to actually feel kicks/punches until around 20 weeks or so, and that between now & then it will probably just feel like gas. Haha. And that was pretty much it. The doctor said she is really pleased & excited about how well I’ve been doing, and to keep up the good work. 😉 I have to go back at 16 weeks to do the glucose test for gestational diabetes, 18 weeks for my regular check up, then 20 weeks for the anatomy scan… so basically every 2 weeks for awhile. But I don’t mind… I’m actually glad my doctor is keeping a close eye on things. I’m a little worried about the diabetes test since I’m overweight & therefore more prone to things like that, but hopefully it will come out alright!

As far as how I’m looking/feeling this week, it’s really pretty much the same as last week. My energy is still not quite 100% but much better than it was during the first trimester. Nausea is almost nonexistent, and the only pains I feel are normal “growing pains” from time to time, which I discussed last week. Size-wise I’m still in this weird in-between phase where my normal clothes are kind of tight, but I’m not quite big enough for maternity pants yet. Luckily the set of maternity clothes I got off of Craigslist included some stretchy band pants for just this scenario, and I’m loving them! Anyway, overall I didn’t really notice much growth this week:

This was taken at exactly the 15 week mark on Saturday, just as we were about to head out to a Nats game (hence my choice of attire). I noticed at the game that I can’t really sit leaning forward much anymore without feeling some major discomfort (I sometimes do that at games because those seats are so squished together & I just need some space between me & the next person). I guess it makes sense, considering my sources say you are now the size of a navel orange. CRAZY, but awesome! We are so proud of you already– you’ve been growing & developing right on target thus far, and every time we’ve seen you you’re either swimming around like Michael Phelps or kicking/punching like Bruce Lee, haha… what a champ! Dad & I couldn’t be happier! We can’t wait to see you again next month, who knows what you’ll be up to by then. 😉

I’d better wrap this up, another long ramble-y letter but I don’t want to forget any of this. And more importantly, I want you to know someday about how Dad & I have loved every minute and every detail of this experience, creating this little life we’re all sharing… how much WE LOVE YOU already, and have from the moment we knew you were on your way!

All my love,
Mom

Hello 2nd Trimester!

Dear Baby Pacheco,

This week marks a huge milestone for you! We have officially made it though the 1st trimester and stepped into the more comfortable world of 2nd trimester. A trimester = approximately 13 weeks and 3 days, or 1/3 of the typical 40 week pregnancy. The great thing about 2nd trimester is that hormone levels tend to even out, which leads to many of the stereotypical pregnancy symptoms going away. For example, I haven’t felt any nausea in over a week. Woohoo! I’m also starting to get some of my energy back. 2nd trimester also marks the beginnings of more substantial growth (whereas 1st trimester is focused on getting all your little body parts formed & in place). With that in mind, here is my 14 week “bump” photo (you are the size of a lemon at this point):

Unfortunately this photo was taken in kind of a rush; I had just gotten out of the shower & we were about to head out the door to run some errands when Dad goes “wait, aren’t you supposed to take your picture today?!”… wet hair + no makeup + unfortunate choice of shirt = terrible picture! Oh well. I’ll try to be better about preparing a little more for these pictures, since they’ll probably end up in a scrapbook someday. Anywho, this week I could feel the last few pairs of regular-size pants I’ve been wearing start to get a little snug. In fact, this weekend I bought a whole wardrobe’s worth of maternity clothes off of Craigslist, and this was my first time rocking some maternity pants (they were a little loose by the end of the day but SOOO comfy, let me tell you!). The picture makes me look substantially bigger (thanks floral print shirt!), but still I don’t think the growth is noticeable to anyone but me & Dad.

Watching the tummy expand is very bitter-sweet… it makes me so happy to know that you’re growing in there, but at the same time I’ve always been someone who’s really struggled with my weight/size & therefore watching the expanding stomach can be kind of frustrating. Dad keeps saying “relax, you’re pregnant– it’s okay!” 😉 But it’s just a very hard mindset to get into. I had actually just lost about 20 lbs. before you came along, and even though I look bigger I’ve actually lost 2 more lbs. as of last my check-up 4 weeks ago, which my doctor said is totally normal for that point in the pregnancy (thanks morning sickness!). I’m trying not to obsess over my weight too much. Instead, I just try to eat as healthy as possible, exercise as much as I can & only pay attention to what the scale says at my monthly check-ups. Speaking of which, my next check-up is this Tuesday! I can’t wait!

Another great thing about 2nd trimester is that we are at the point where we can start to more actively prepare for your arrival. We made our first big purchase for you this week– a crib! It came in today actually, and as soon as we got it home Dad was chomping at the bit to get it set up. 🙂 So we spent a chunk of the afternoon transforming one of our guest rooms into the beginnings of a nursery. Right now it’s pretty bare-bones, just the crib:

But still we are really excited to finally be taking steps like this! We won’t do any specific decorations until we find out whether you’re a boy or girl in late August/early September, but in the meantime we’re focusing on the larger aspects like this crib. We also have Nana on the hunt for a nice dresser & nightstand for you, and Grandma is bringing me her great-grandmother’s rocking chair that was part of my nursery when I was a baby. I love the idea of incorporating some family history into your nursery. 🙂 The only other purchase I’ve made for you recently is this (which I’m also pretty excited about, haha):

Dad & I are HUGE baseball fans, and we hope that you will be too! One of our favorite things about moving to the DC area has been the close proximity to a major league team. We have been ardent Washington Nationals fans since we moved up here, so when I saw these onesies at Target a couple weeks ago I just couldn’t resist! We can’t wait to take you to your first game next year.

Well, this post is getting kind of long & honestly I feel I’ve been rambling through most of it… so I’ll wrap things up! I wish I had more interesting things to write about, but at this point pregnancy is just about watching the belly grow & using my new found energy to prepare for your arrival. I will quickly add that these two things make all of this feel so much more “real” to me & dad. One day this week Dad & I were feeling the changes in my belly and said to him “wow, there’s actually a baby in there!” 😉 Haha. Anyway, next week I’ll write about how Tuesday’s check-up goes. Until then, keep growing little one!

All my love,
Mom